Results Are In On the 2018 Washington Office Survey
4/9/2018
Neal Hutchko, Policy Analyst
Monday, April 9, 2018
by: Neal Hutchko, Policy Analyst

Section: Washington Update




The results are in! This year’s 2018 Washington Office survey is now complete. Thirty-eight offices from 28 states participate in the survey this year. These responses are an invaluable asset to NASACT’s Washington office, as they provide an accurate snapshot of what issues are most important to the members and guide where the focus should be during the upcoming year. Thanks to all who were able to respond and submit comments.
 
 Top 5 Issues
 
  1. Proposals to amend the single audit act.
  2. Public sector pension plans (disclosure and funding issues).
  3. OMB cost circulars/administrative rules.
  4. Timely disclosure of state financial reports.
  5. State budget issues. 

5 Lowest-Ranking Issues
 
  1. Municipal market (issues concerning the market or the issuance of bonds):SEC rules and regulations.
  2. Municipal market: MSRB rules and regulations.
  3. Municipal Market: Congressional proposals.
  4. Municipal Market: IRS rules and regulations.
  5. Citizen engagement (through social media channels and official state websites) 
 
Quotes from the Survey
 
Below is a random sampling of some of the comments we received under each topic.
 
Are there any new Congressional or Federal agency issues that the Washington office can address for you?
  • Tax reform has resulted in a significant increase in the federal government's projected future deficits. How will this impact state and local governments? Will increased treasury debt issuance lead to increases in interest rates? 
  • Cannabis banking 
  • The GREAT Act 
  • Continue to monitor GASB funding. 
 
Several NASACT Members have official Facebook pages for their offices. Recently, NASACT unveiled their own Facebook page as well, posting information about NASACT sponsored events, photos and videos from those events, and other valuable information that will contribute to the overall mission of the association. Have you and/or your staff added/Liked this page to your own accounts?
  • Yes – 19%
  • No –   38%
  • Not Applicable – 43%
 
What is the best thing in financial management going on in your state/office today? Feel free to comment on any aspect of your operations.
  • An increased focus on debt affordability and the development of a benchmark study to recommend best practices for various credit factors. 
  • Working on replacing state's old mainframe accounting system (mentioned by several respondents). 
  • Continuous improvement philosophy regarding our audit mission internally, and most importantly in our profession, finding opportunities for the auditee to do their work better. 
  • Legislators have become more interested in understanding topics with long-term financial ramifications resulting from current policies. This includes pensions, health care benefits, and federal grants. 
 
Are there areas/issues in which NASACT should have a more active role?
  • Please keep working for us with OMB and Uniform Grant Guidance. It's not just pension guidance that needs amending. The guidance for OPEB will need to be amended as well with the new GASB standards. 
  • Encouraging the federal government to utilize more block grants and eliminating compliance requirements but granting less over federal financial assistance; this would be a win-win for the federal government and state/local governments by saving money on both sides while also improving service capacity. 
  • Still having issues with SWCAP pertaining to GASB 65. 
  • Bringing back the ability of state and local governments to issue tax-exempt advance refunding bonds. The loss of this financing tool reduces the ability of state and local governments to take advantage of favorable interest rate environments. Bringing back this financing tool will help state and local governments minimize their borrowing costs and maximize the amount of projects that can be completed. 

More Information
 
For detailed results of the survey, or if you would like to discuss some of the commentary we received, please feel free to contact Neal Hutchko in the Washington Office by email or at (202) 624-5873.

 
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